California Department of Transportation

California Department of Transportation

Date: September 15, 2011
Contact: Debbie Mullins, Caltrans Division of Rail
Phone: (916) 654-5908

Caltrans and Rail Partners Launch New Campaign for Rail Safety Month

Locomotive artwork promotes vigilance to reduce fatalities near rail crossings and tracks

SACRAMENTO – Caltrans and its partners today announced that hundreds of Caltrans employees have joined together with individuals affected by rail crossing incidents to decorate two locomotives in honor of California's Rail Safety Month. The graphics-wrapped locomotives highlight the importance of safety and vigilance near railroad tracks and honor the memory of individuals affected by rail crossing incidents.

"Rail crossing fatalities and injuries can be prevented and Rail Safety Month reminds us to remain vigilant and stay safe at railroad crossings," said Acting Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty. "We decorated these locomotives to honor those affected, raise awareness, and increase public safety."

The two wrapped locomotives inscribed with the safety message, "Be Track Smart – Tragedies Touch All Of Us," used more than 200 Caltrans employees' hand prints to create a multi-colored wrap representing those who have been touched by rail crossing incidents. One of the prints belongs to Caltrans Maintenance Supervisor Frank Ornelaz II, whose father was killed by a train.

Caltrans partnered on the campaign with Amtrak, Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority, Operation Lifesaver, Union Pacific Railroad, Burlington and Northern Santa Fe Railway, to showcase locomotives with the safety message along the San Joaquin, Capitol Corridor and Pacific Surfliner routes over the next several months, to remind motorists and pedestrians to be vigilant when approaching all railroad crossings and tracks.

California is working hard to reduce railroad crossing fatalities, a goal all passenger and freight railroad agencies share. According to Federal Railroad Administration statistics, nearly 300 Californians lost their lives to rail incidents between January 2008 and May 2011. A bill authored by state Senator Carol Liu from Glendale (District 21) created Rail Safety Month in 2009.

Amtrak California

Amtrak California is a partnership between the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and Amtrak. Under the Amtrak California banner, Caltrans funds three intercity passenger rail corridors in California. Contributing more than $90 million annually in state operating assistance, Caltrans is the largest passenger rail capital assistance program in the nation. Amtrak California operates three of the five busiest state supported intercity passenger rail services throughout California including: the Pacific Surfliner Corridor, Amtrak's second busiest corridor; the San Joaquin Corridor, Amtrak's fifth busiest corridor; and the Capitol Corridor, which is managed by the Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority, Amtrak's third busiest corridor. For more information visit; join us on Facebook at; and follow us on Twitter at

About Amtrak

Celebrating 40 years of dedicated service as America's Railroads, Amtrak is the nation's intercity passenger rail provider and its only high-speed rail operator. A record 28.7 million passengers traveled on Amtrak in FY 2010 on more than 300 daily trains - at speeds up to 150 mph (241 kph) - that connect 46 states, the District of Columbia and three Canadian Provinces. Amtrak operates trains in partnership with 15 states and four commuter rail agencies. Amtrak also is a strong financial performer achieving an 85 percent cost-recovery ratio in FY 2010. Enjoy the journeys at or call 800-USA-RAIL for schedules, fares and more information. Join us on and follow us at

About Capitol Corridor®

The Capitol Corridor serves sixteen stations along the 170-mile rail corridor connecting Placer, Sacramento, Yolo, Solano, Contra Costa, Alameda, San Francisco and Santa Clara counties, paralleling both the I-80/I-680 and I-880 corridors in segments from Sacramento to San Jose. An extensive, dedicated motorcoach network provides bus connections to the train. The CCJPA partners with Amtrak, Union Pacific Railroad, Caltrans and the communities comprising the CCJPA to offer cost-effective intercity passenger rail and offers a convenient way to travel between the Sierra Foothills, Sacramento, the San Francisco Bay Area and Silicon Valley/San Jose. For information, visit or call 1-877-974-3322. Join us on Facebook at and follow us on Twitter at

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